A Glimpse Into Native American Culture


The setting for Something to Hold by Katherine Schlick Noe is the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon, 1962.  Kitty's family has just made the latest of their many transfers to accommodate her father's government job working as a forester lookout.  She is one of only two white children in Warm Springs.  All the others are residents of the reservation.  Most are unfriendly and some of them are hostile.

The story spotlights cultural misunderstandings and prejudices:  teachers without respect for the talents and heritage of the students and community, students and adults who are resentful of the presence of white intervention. But with a few friendships that grow with time and patience, bonds evolve. The characters and situations in this story lend interest from the beginning, but when an emergency occurs the book becomes a page turner.  This intermediate level children's fiction book is enriching and great for discussion (reading circles?) without being preachy.  The novel  is based on the author's own childhood and family history. A glossary and author's note add extra interest.  Her mother's true story of life on three reservations is is told in the memoir Coming to Stay:  A Columbia River Journey.  For further enrichment about the confederated tribes of Warm Springs and the history and culture of the area visit the websites here and also here.

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